Silvio Rodriguez #3: La Maza (The Hammer)


 Powered by Max Banner Ads 

.

.

.

The third of the three Silvio Rodriguez songs I’ll be performing at my concert this Sunday evening in Huntington Beach. (Along with Beethoven, Debussy, Chopin, David Bowie & Duke Ellington.)  This one asks what use are you without your beliefs.  The phrase “la maza sin cantera,” which answers the question, is kind of hard to translate – it refers to the making of sculpture – what use is the sculpting hammer without the rock (or “cantera” or “quarry”) used for material?  (My version of the song is a lot faster and more aggressive than Silvio’s; I combine it with the jazz standard Footprints and I’ll have percussion and a sax player joining me.)  English translation:

[audio:http://orangejuiceblog.com/music/maza.mp3]

If I didn’t believe in the madness of the mockingbird’s song,
if I didn’t believe that the mountain conceals melodies and fright,
if I didn’t believe in balance, in the logic of equilibrium,
if I didn’t believe in delirium, if I didn’t believe in hope,
if I didn’t believe in what I promote, if I didn’t believe in my own way,
if I didn’t believe in my music, if I didn’t believe in my silence,

REFRAIN: What would I be? What would the hammer be without its “quarry?”
A mass of cords and tendons, a jumble of flesh and wood,
an instrument with no more brilliance than tiny lights set up for the stage.
What would I be, oh heart? What would the hammer be without its “quarry?”
The front man to the betrayer of applause, one who serves up the past in a new glass,
an eternalizer of waning gods, joy boiling over in rags and spangles.

If I didn’t believe in the toughest struggles, if I didn’t believe in longing,
if I didn’t believe in my convictions, if I didn’t believe in something pure,
if I didn’t believe in each assault, if I didn’t believe in she who comes around [death],
if I didn’t believe in what it means to become a brother to life,
if I didn’t believe in those who listen, if I didn’t believe in in the pain,
if I didn’t believe in in what endures, if I didn’t believe in in the fight… (refrain)


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.